thinks the UEA are scammers because they haven’t achieved higher salaries:
My biggest problem with all teachers' unions is that they are ineffective at their core mission and thus are a corrupt drag on teacher salaries. Despite more than doubling inflation-adjusted education spending over the last four decades, teacher salaries have been flat during the same period. That's a pretty crappy job negotiating compensation for the rather large budgets that unions work with.
I just can't see how a group powerful enough to stare down the legislature can tuck tail and run when confronting district superintendents, you know? I wonder how long it'll take before teachers figure out they're being scammed.
December 31, 2007 1:17 PM
Both the NEA and AFT (page 3, PDF) show flat teacher salaries in separate surveys.
...(and some other stuff)…
December 31, 2007 3:42 PM
I can't agree. I discussed this with a bunch of old-timers and no one felt there was some unrealized windfall we’d been swindled out of. What grand pot of money were we supposed to take drastically higher salaries from? Construction costs and growth alone account for most of the increase in spending. We also know we need computer labs, copy machines, test sheet scanners, software, training, etc. These costs differ GREATLY from the paper, pencil, chalk, and dittos of the past. The legislature hasn’t increased spending with that in mind. The needs have increased and funding has just barely kept pace with the growth. I think teachers in general sympathize with the difficulties in funding the large number of students in Utah from a smaller tax base. We can almost feel guilty when we see firsthand many of the families that struggle with taxes, but we also need some way to plan for the future if you want anyone teaching as a primary career. I was surprised to learn how many teachers’ salaries qualified their kids for reduced lunches in past years. I would have qualified for WIC if my wife hadn’t been doing extra babysitting while pregnant or if our second had come a year earlier.
Whoa. Just checked and I’m fairly certain we qualify now. I even had kids a little later than the average BYU guy. The point is, teachers are not just being whiny when they qualify for federally subsidized food. You’re not supposed to spend above something like 28% of your gross income on housing to be financially stable. Say you have a $1000 monthly payment for a $12000 yearly commitment to your mortgage. (At that price, you’re either getting a great deal on your interest rate or living in a very modest home. If you want your family to grow, good luck.) That translates to a yearly salary of $42,857 if you want to live at the threshold of fiscal responsibility. Here’s the salary schedule for Alpine School District:
Even tossing in savings from our admittedly good health insurance obtained from the large state-employee pool discount rates, how long until you can buy a home without moving to Genola? Surprised a lot of teachers quit in the first 5 years? And as salary increases, a lot of you know more than I do about the increasing costs of your growing family as well. (A 25-year teacher just told me he’s paying $150 more a month in insurance now that his 16-year-old son is driving. Ouch! I need to call my parents and retroactively thank them profusely.)
But with all this, teachers see firsthand at school that there are financial needs all over, and that is precisely why they DON’T go nuts and strike constantly. AND, while I believe Jesse is sincere, honestly tell me that UEA critics wouldn’t go nuts if we HAD gotten high percentage salary increases at the expense of the technology and extra classrooms that the funding went to. It’s a rock and a hard place for teachers. The same rock and a hard place hold true for the legislature, but the UEA gets demonized while having almost no real power.
I vaguely remember a strike from elementary/middle school years, and I was out of the country during the last strike in the late 90's. My school AEA rep says those two strikes made him disassociate from the union for awhile, and I would tend to agree with him. I want to be in the classroom even when I'm annoyed at the legislature. I only know only one teacher at my school, a California transplant who thinks the teachers should fight much harder for higher salaries like in his home state, who would support something like that. But that illustrates the true lack of power of the UEA. They make a lot of noise and get news coverage...and what? Senator Dayton mentioned how mad she felt over the UEA's "paving over the backs of students" ad campaign a couple years ago. (The legislature assigned tons of surplus to transportation in '06 when polls and the UEA wanted more for education. I feel we direly need both and it's a tough call, but I definitely believe that many legislators have a personal grudge against education.) The legislature was pilloried in editorials and in polls, but….the money still got assigned to roads, none of the Republicans got ousted (well, PCE picked off a few anti-voucher Republicans, but with other Republicans), and business went on as usual. Polls support better funding for education all the time, but legislators know that doesn't translate to the ballot box. How many teachers are there compared with habitual Republicans? The UEA has some token influence and gets some publicity, but the public only got really mad and acted with the rich money grab of vouchers.
Here’s two great posts from the Edu Blah Blah Blahg that sum it up well:
The Utah Education Association- we are not evil
I read a post on the Utah Amicus quoting a letter which stated,
"Why have we entrusted the education of our children to the faceless names of the Utah Education Association?"
In other words, "Why have we entrusted the education of our children to teachers?"
Well, I'm pleased to inform the general letter-writing public that UEA members (aka teachers) have names and faces (as both help when teaching).
This leads to one of the things that consistently bothers me about anti-union rhetoric. Many people who speak against the UEA regard it as an automaton with no heart. It doesn't take much effort to learn that the UEA is all teachers, through and through. Even the VP, Ellen Thompson, is still expected to be a classroom teacher while meeting all the obligations of her office. In fact, the only officer who is not a current classroom teacher is the president, Kim Campbell (understandably, as being UEA president must be a large time commitment).
I am a teacher. I love teaching. I believe in public education. If you've met me, you've met the UEA, and for that matter the NEA. Would you want to entrust your child's education to me? I would hope so.
Posted by andbrooke at Sunday, September 23, 2007
Yep, that's my union
I'm the union rep at my school- a job I've come to enjoy. I've made it a point to learn as much as I can about the union and almost all of what I've learned has been positive. I have yet to learn something about my teacher's union that would make me want to cancel my membership (and I even read Mike Antonucci's blog).
Talking to other teachers, I've heard a lot of different reasons for why they are not members. Some understandable, some absurd. The voucher referendum, though, makes me want to shake them all and ask, "Can't you see what they do for you? This referendum would not have gotten off the ground without the UEA!"
Now the NEA is throwing their weight behind the referendum. This is teachers' money from across the nation (including mine), and they're spending over a million on us. For me, this makes every dues payment worth it. By Nov 6, every penny I've sent them will have come right back to my state, for a cause I believe in.
Posted by andbrooke at Saturday, September 22, 2007